Mentorship

As part of the Future Leaders of Hospitality Program, each ECF student is paired with a member of the board for the duration of their college education. The program provides the students with personal advice, academic assistance and access to unique job and internship opportunities during monthly in-person meetings or video chats. The ECF board is comprised of more than 20 of the top food and beverage and hospitality executives in the city.

Students also receive mentorship and guidance from the ECF staff, which oversees the academic counseling, financial distribution, etiquette and interview training and overall functionality of the foundation.

Meet our Mentors & Mentees …

Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Cameron Keenan, Class of 2022
Colleen Birch

"I have had the honor of being paired with Colleen for the rest of the year. She is very hardworking and dedicated with everything she does. I have felt nothing but support from her and know that she will always be there to encourage me to do my best. Colleen has already shown me so much that I cant wait to see what the future has in store."
Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Susana Galindo
Kevin Ball, Corporate Vice President of Purchasing and Strategic Sourcing for Golden Entertainment, Inc

"I am so grateful to have Kevin Ball as my mentor. Coming into ECF, I was still nervous about everything and had to adapt to new things. Every time I met with Kevin I felt comfortable talking to him and sharing my goals and even my worries to him. Kevin is such an amazing person that he listens and helps me with solutions for everything. He is encouraging, caring, and thoughtful in everything he does. He encourages me not only to try my best but also reminds me every week that I am great and that he is proud. Thank you Kevin. I appreciate everything you do."
Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Geovanni Saucedo, Class of 2020
Christopher Bond, Vice President of Hotel Sales and Catering, The Mirage Hotel and Casino

"I am so grateful to have Kevin Ball as my mentor. Coming into ECF, I was still nervous about everything and had to adapt to new things. Every time I met with Kevin I felt comfortable talking to him and sharing my goals and even my worries to him. Kevin is such an amazing person that he listens and helps me with solutions for everything. He is encouraging, caring, and thoughtful in everything he does. He encourages me not only to try my best but also reminds me every week that I am great and that he is proud. Thank you Kevin. I appreciate everything you do."
Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Crystal Triguero
Martha Morales

"Martha has been an extraordinary mentor to me! She has been someone that I have seen as a role model since I first heard her story during my junior year of high school. Martha has encouraged my eagerness to learn more about the hospitality industry. Seeing her success within the hospitality industry has motivated me to work hard, so that one day I can achieve the level of success that she has. I will forever be appreciative for the guidance and encouragement that Martha has given me."
Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Adolfo Ramirez Salazar
Karla Perez-Larragoite, Vice President National Accounts-Gaming, Sysco Corporation

"I am so grateful for my mentor, Karla Perez. She has been a role model to me as the person that I want to become. She has opened mind to the different opportunities that the hospitality industry has to offer. She has guided me through different aspects of life both professionally and personally."
Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Rocio Vasquez, Class of 2021
Ron Cabildo

"Ron has been very helpful with the knowledge and experience he has in being the CEO of Definitive Talents. He is very inspiring and has guided me in the right direction for the business I want to open. One thing about him, is that he never fails to push me to do things that I think are out of my reach."
Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Paige Owens, Class of 2022
Stacey Taylor

"During my second year of ECF, I was paired up with Stacey Taylor. She is not only a mentor but a role model for me as she is a determined, insightful, and assiduous individual. Stacey has given me countless opportunities to grow and expand my experience in the Hospitality industry and what passions I’m suiting to follow. She has shown me many different fields that work behind the scenes of the Hospitality industry. During the past couple of months, I was able to find new goals and close old ones with her guidance. Her mentorship has helped me narrow down where I want to be and go in the future, create new insightful changes with the people around me, and follow through on projects and complete them. Thank you, Stacey, for everything you’ve done for me!"
Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Osbaldo Tovar
Sherri Pucci

"A huge thank you from me and my family. Conversations and actions you have taken to commit yourself to the mentee and mentor relationship have been up and beyond. Thank you for putting me in positions where I can see my dreams and ideas with less blur. Thank you for articulating the things you could do/say for me in way that's best for me! Your next mentee is going to be blessed as I have been."
Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Noe Martinez Alvares, Class of 2021
Craig Gilbert, Managing Partner of Drive This! Entertainment

"Thank you for making time for me as I know you are a very busy individual. I enjoyed the conversations we have had and thank you for the book. I will definitely give it a read and hopefully it will be of use one way or another in my life. I look forward to what the mentor ship will bring!"
Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Ashley Hassler, Class of 2021
Dean Shoemaker

"Mr. Shoemaker has been a great help to me throughout the time he has been my mentor. He has done more for me than just guide, but has been a role model for all aspects of life: personal and professional. I look up to him greatly and admire so much about him, from his professionalism, knowledge, advice, and respect given to and received by others. He takes me seriously, in a time in my life where it feels like nobody does. I thank him a lot, but it's only because there's so much to be grateful for. I don't know where I would be without his guidance, and look forward to him being in my life for a long time."
Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Kennedy Villegas, Class of 2021 and Sol Pacheco, Class of 2022
Kelley Jones, Founding partner of Trust3 Hospitality and Kelley Jones Hospitality

"It makes such a difference,' said Pooh, 'to have someone who believes in you.'" This relates to mentorship, because a mentor will always believe in his or her mentee, regardless of the challenges." "Kelley Jones has helped me grow in many different ways. By being a great mentor, he has taught me to see things from a different perspective and to take a chance on things I wouldn't normally do. He has helped me better shape my goals and with every meeting we have I leave with a new lesson learned. I am grateful for everything Kelley has done for me and I know he will always be there for me."
Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Bettina Bautista, Class of 2022
David Suppe

"I am very thankful that David is my mentor. He has provided me with guidance, support, and discipline throughout our time together. He has taught me so much beyond what I would expect. I can’t say thank you enough for what he has provided me."
Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Ashley Hassler, Class of 2021
Dean Shoemaker

"I am honored to have Marisa as my mentor. From her countless lessons and encouragement, Marisa demonstrates the definition of having a passion and working hard to turn your passion into a career. I got the opportunity to work events with Marisa, meet important people in her life, and learn different aspects of the hospitality industry. Marisa inspires me to get out of my comfort zone and to never stop working till I get to where I want to be in my career. Although, Marisa is always busy on business travels or working events, she always finds time for me and makes sure I am doing well in both my academic and personal life. I am forever grateful to have a woman like Marisa in my life as a role model, mentor, and friend/family."
Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Miriam Munoz Gonzalez
Joe Radetich

“I am extremely lucky to get Joe as my first mentor. He has introduced me to so many people and shown me the ins and outs of the Food and Beverage industry and i cant thank him enough. He pushes me to not only do better in school, but in my career and life as well. I will forever cherish the advice that he gives me and the bond we have created.”
Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Jaslin Estavillo
Michael Kennedy, Director of Food Operations at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa

“Michael Kennedy will be the one I go to for both professional and personal advice. He is the most genuine, caring, and passionate person I know. He is never afraid to face problems head-on. His values of his family, drive for his career, and passion to give back to the community are truly inspirational. I view him as a role model and am honored and proud to call him my mentor!”
Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Sol Pacheco, Class of 2022
Michael Kennedy, Director of Food Operations at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa

”I’m very fortunate to have Michael Kennedy as my first mentor, I can't thank him enough for the countless advice and opportunities he has given me. I truly appreciate all that he has done for me, teaching me a new valuable lesson with each meeting we have. Michael has not only been a great mentor but a friend and a blessing to both me and my family. I will always revere Michael for his hard work and personality.”
Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Geovanni Saucedo, Class of 2020
Luiz Oliveira, Owner of Sambalatte Torrefazione

“My mentor has shown me a different aspect of hospitality leadership. I have learned of his origins and his evolution to his current position as a business owner, and appreciate the background aspect when recognizing his growth. I appreciate the conversations and advice my mentor had presented to me as I emerge myself into the industry.”
Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Ashley Hassler, Class of 2021
John Bray, Corporate Food and Beverage Director for Station Casinos


Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Ashley Kozell, Class of 2022
Christopher Bond, Vice President of Hotel Sales and Catering, The Mirage Hotel and Casino

“I feel so honored to have had Chris Bond as my first ever mentor. His exceptional guidance throughout my academics and future career has been extremely helpful. I am thankful for this opportunity to learn from him and his experiences throughout the Hospitality Industry. Chris Bond is very passionate in his career and it only inspires me more looking forward in the future. I will always continue to learn and take advice that he gives. It is nice to have a mentor like Chris Bond, someone in the industry that I look up to.”
Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Ben Sison, Class of 2019
Travis Lunn, General Manager of MGM Grand Hotel and Casino


Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Brkiti Brhan, Class of 2022
Ken Johnson, Executive Director of Food & Beverage for Four Queens/Binion’s

“There aren't enough words to explain my gratitude for this mentorship program and to Ken, my first mentor. Ken is one of the kindest people I have ever come across, he shows that having a passion and being a hard worker can lead anyone to their dream. My first semester in college wouldn't be the same without Ken's guidance and useful advice. I knew I could always count on Ken to give me words of encouragement when I was struggling in a class and in need of overcoming every obstacle, I came across both in my academical and personal life. Ken has become my role model and I am truly blessed for the opportunity to be his mentee.”
Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Ashley Kozell, Class of 2022
Christopher Bond, Vice President of Hotel Sales and Catering, The Mirage Hotel and Casino

“Robert has been an amazing mentor for me this year. He gave me insight and knowledge on all aspects of this industry. I can always count on him for guidance, advice, and inspiration. He has taught me how to push myself and step out of my comfort zone. I am forever grateful for all I have learned, and I look forward for what’s to come!”
Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Ben Sison, Class of 2019
Travis Lunn, General Manager of MGM Grand Hotel and Casino

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn. “ -Benjamin Franklin. This quote perfectly describes Karla Perez. Her involvement within ECF is incredible, I truly look up to her personally and professionally.
Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Kennedy Villegas, Class of 2021
Craig Gilbert, Managing Partner of Drive This! Entertainment

"My mentorship with Craig has taught me to value myself and balance my lifestyle with school and work. Craig is a very knowledgeable and caring leader, anyone would be lucky to be paired with him."
Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Ashley Kozell, Class of 2022
Christopher Bond, Vice President of Hotel Sales and Catering, The Mirage Hotel and Casino

Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Mia Salomon, Class of 2019
Martha Morales, General Manager, Nobu Hotel, Las Vegas ECF Alumni Class of ‘09

“Martha is the definition of mentorship. She is beyond a leader; she is a friend and a guardian. Everything I have learned and practiced to hone my skills as a leader, has came from Martha. She is genuinely concerned about my academic, professional, and personal endeavors, too. Her figure as a role model is what I aspire to become as I advance forward in life. I am unable to express my gratitude toward her sometimes, because she constantly has sometime to provide to the table for everyone in her heart.”
Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Monica Corral, Class of 2021
Marisa Martino

“Whether she is on the east coast helping a restaurant create their concept or in town working non-stop to plan events for the company she works for, Marisa always keeps me as one of her priorities. I admire Marisa for many things: her kindness, her passion for the hospitality industry, and her vibrant personality, but what I wish to emulate the most one day is the way Marisa manages time. Marisa's time management skills are incredible! Because she know's what is most important to her and what items on her agenda have to be completed before others, Marisa is able to make time for the things she needs to do and for the things she wants to do, like cooking with her family. I see Marisa as an amazing role model, not just for myself, but for anyone that dreams of starting their own business, making long-lasting relationships, and viewing their job as not something they have to do, but something they love to do.”
Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Monica Corral, Class of 2021
Michael Kennedy, Director of Food Operations at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa

Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Noe Martinez Alvares, Class of 2021
David Suppe, Executive Chef of The Juice Standard

Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Paige Owens, Class of 2022
Kevin Ball, Corporate Vice President of Purchasing and Strategic Sourcing for Golden Entertainment, Inc

“For my first year as a college student, I couldn’t have been so lucky to have a mentor like Kevin. Whether it's professional or personal, Kevin has helped me overcome challenges and advance in my studies! Kevin is one of the most caring, joyous, encouraging people I know! He always knows how to turn a gloomy situation brighter, and I'm so grateful to have him as a role model, mentor, and friend.”
Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Rocio Vasquez, Class of 2021
Eric Brady, Career Position

“Aside of having a professional viewpoint on things, Eric emphasizes the importance of personal happiness. When having complex ideas, he knows how to simplify those concerns to have a more clear path one should go in. He never fails to strive for bigger aspirations and help one achieve their goals."
Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Nachely Martinez, Class of 2013
Luiz Oliveira, Owner of Sambalatte Torrefazione

“Luiz is a wonderful mentor and friend. I know that I can always reach out to him if I have any questions or just need someone to talk to. He is a very smart man and someone whom I truly admire and respect.”
Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Claudia Soler, Class of 2014
Marisa Martino, Mentor

“My mentor and I have a close friendship, and is there to guide me in the right direction.”
Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Emily Hewitt, Class of 2014
Scott Farber, Mentor

“Scott Farber is an incredible mentor. He is attentive and helpful, always steering me in the right direction, and encouraging me to above all, smile and enjoy yourself.”
Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Vildan Buric, Class of 2014
Michael Kennedy, Director of Food Operations at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa

“My mentor has truly become a great friend. He is always there to help me academically and professionally, and provides invaluable advice and expertise.”
Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Jordan Moore, Class of 2017
Rene Werner, Director of Food & Beverage for The Orleans Hotel & Casino

“My mentor is truly one of a kind. He has helped me not only professionally, but personally as well and I could never say ‘thank you’ enough.”
Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Karen Nava, Class of 2017
Ana Marie Mormando, General Manager of The Mansion at MGM Grand

Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Mia Salomon, Class of 2017
Craig Gilbert, Managing Partner of Drive This! Entertainment

“Craig is always there for me whenever I need him. Not only does he give me amazing professional advice, but personal life advice as well. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be mentored by someone with such a wide variety of experience in the industry.”
Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Melanie Saucedo, Class of 2018
Marisa Martino, Mentor

Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Anna Tymoshevska, Class of 2019
Christopher Bond, Vice President of Hotel Sales and Catering, The Mirage Hotel and Casino

“I am very fortunate to have Chris as my mentor. He is a role model, a great mentor, and a friend who is always there for me and supports me in the academic and career aspects of my life. It is a privilege to be able to learn from such an experienced professional that has taken the career path that I am just starting.”
Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Benjamin Sison, Class of 2019
Michael Kennedy, Director of Food Operations at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa

“Thank you for the countless advice you have given me throughout my time in college, thank you for the opportunities you have created for me to grow, and thank you for being an outstanding mentor and friend to me consistently. I would not be where I am today without your help and guidance, and I am extremely thankful for that.”
Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Geovanni Saucedo, Class of 2020
Craig Gilbert, Managing Partner of Drive This! Entertainment

“Craig has been an amazing mentor for my second year as a college student. His advice isn’t solely restricted in my academics, but in my future career as a industry professional and on my personal life. I appreciate his guidance and concern over my growth as a young hospitality leader.”
Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Geovanni Saucedo, Class of 2020
Tim Bowen, Vice President of Food & Beverage at Bally’s, Paris and Planet Hollywood

“Tim has vast experience and knowledge of the hospitality industry, specifically food and beverage, giving me the opportunity to learn a lot under his guidance. He has provided me with opportunities to learn hands on, as well as observe him perform as a professional in his work environment. Tim is dedicated to aiding me with my career development and making sure I am on the right track. I am more than fortunate to have Tim Bowen as my mentor, he is one of the most caring people I know, and I always look forward to having our mentor meetings!”
Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Jasmine Ramos, Class of 2020
Kelley Jones, Founding partner of Trust3 Hospitality and Kelley Jones Hospitality

“As Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” My mentor, Kelley Jones is the perfect example of this quote. He has done nothing but push me in the right direction and give great advice. Kelley has treated me like family right from the start and I appreciate his generosity more than he’ll ever know.”
Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Maria Miranda, Class of 2020
Tim Bowen, Vice President of Food & Beverage at Bally’s, Paris and Planet Hollywood

“Craig has been an amazing mentor for my second year as a college student. His advice isn’t solely restricted in my academics, but in my future career as a industry professional and on my personal life. I appreciate his guidance and concern over my growth as a young hospitality leader.”
Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Ashley Hassler, Class of 2021
David Suppe, Executive Chef of The Juice Standard

“I am so grateful for my mentor. He has truly made a large impact in my life, and has helped me through so much personally and even professionally. He is more than a mentor to me; he is a close friend for life. I am thankful for the time he has given me to mentor me, give me advice, and help me out. Not many people would do that. I know the mentorship with him will eventually come to an end, but our bond will last stronger. I look forward to the future of our friendship, even after ECF.”
Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Kennedy Villegas, Class of 2021
Martha Morales, General Manager, Nobu Hotel, Las Vegas

“Any student would be lucky to have a mentor like Martha Morales. She has been the biggest supporter of my academic and career endeavors during my first year of university. Her guidance has allowed me to grow more knowledgeable about the industry of Hospitality, and the experiences we shared has given me the opportunity to realize my true potential in becoming a professional in the field. I am grateful for Martha and everything she has done. When I am a leader, I wish to pass on this mentorship bond with future students of Hospitality and ECF.”
Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Brandon Scarberry, Class of 2021
Sean DiCicco, Senior Vice President of Food and Beverage at Caesars Entertainment

“Robert has been an amazing mentor for me this year. He gave me insight and knowledge on all aspects of this industry. I can always count on him for guidance, advice, and inspiration. He has taught me how to push myself and step out of my comfort zone. I am forever grateful for all I have learned, and I look forward for what’s to come!”
Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Noe Martinez, Class of 2021
Michael Kennedy, Director of Food Operations at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa

“The relationship I have with my mentor is the first of its kind that I have experienced. It’s a hand of guidance along with real world example. It’s helping better myself to become closer to my goals. It’s a relationship that empowers me in various ways. This relationship, simply put, is incredible.”
Susana Galindo and Kevin Ball

Monica Coral, Class of 2021
Ken Johnson, Executive Director of Food & Beverage for Four Queens/Binion's

“I am extremely grateful to have Ken as my first mentor. Ken has provided me with so much more than an educational experience of the food and beverage industry, he has taught me what it takes to be an executive in any industry. As one of the most caring people I know, Ken is someone who I can trust with providing me with professional and personal advice, not just because I am his mentee, but because he genuinely wants to see me succeed. No matter how busy Ken may be he does everything with an optimistic point of view while always staying true to himself, which are only a few of his astounding characteristics that I wish to see in myself when I work in the hospitality industry. ”
Geovanni Saucedo with Christopher Ball

Rocio Vazquez, Class of 2021
Kevin Ball, Corporate Vice President of Purchasing and Strategic Sourcing for Golden Entertainment, Inc

“It is an honor to have Kevin as my mentor. He never fails to make me feel special and no matter how busy he is, he always makes sure that I am doing well personally and academically. It is always a joyous moment whenever we get together.”
Cameron Keenan with Colleen Birch

Ben Sison, Class of 2019
Linda Sim, Vice President Sales and Special Events Live Nation Clubs & Theatres, House of Blues Entertainment

“Linda is an amazing mentor to me. She encourages me and helps me progress educationally, professionally and personally. She sets an incredible example for me to learn from. I do not take her advice for granted, I know she has my best interest in mind and she has been where I am before. I am so grateful and blessed to have a mentor like Linda who I know has my back and is always there for me.”
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